When you’re stuck indoors and picnics just aren’t possible, entertaining people might seem like a chore. If anything, though, the winter weather actually has the potential to make entertaining even easier than backyard barbeques. Potluck parties take the guesswork out of your entertaining woes, and are a great solution to wintertime get-togethers.

Recipe for Potluck Parties

Invitations – Since almost everyone knows what a potluck is, inviting guests should be easy. Simply tell your guests when and where the party is, and request that everyone bring a covered dish.

Themes – You can choose to mix things up a bit, or give your party a theme. For example, turn your simple potluck into a trip around the world and ask guests to bring foods from different cultures. Or, for a great cold weather theme, ask everyone to bring their favorite winter comfort food.

Set-up — Set-up for potlucks is easy. Simply clear off a table or enough space for plenty of covered dishes and set up a buffet-type area. This way, everyone can see all of the dishes and choose between them, or get a little of everything at once. Make sure there is somewhere comfortable for everyone to sit, but other than that, set up is simple and very casual.

Host contributions – Unlike other dinner parties, the host is not expected to provide every part of the meal. This can make things much easier on you. Plan to provide the serving utensils, plates, flatware, and beverages. You will want to make your own covered dish, of course. Many people also provide easy side dishes or snacks, such as breadsticks or cheese and crackers, as well as a dessert option.

Variety – The best part of potlucks is the variety of foods that you can taste and try all at once. You are almost always guaranteed to try a new dish, and often times you might find something new to love.

Creativity – Potlucks are the perfect opportunity to try out fun new recipes as well as get creative in the kitchen. Now is a great time to make that new recipe you have been wanting to try. Since there are so many other dishes, no one will go hungry if not everyone likes the dish.

Recipe swap – After tasting all of the different dishes, you can often find great new recipes. You can even ask your guests to bring note cards with their recipe written down and swap recipes.

Overall savings – Whether you are a guest or the host of a potluck party, a covered dish is a lot less expensive than going out to eat or cooking multiple courses for a dinner party. Not only are you saving money, but since a lot of the responsibility is taken off your shoulders, you save piece of mind as well.

Group fun – Potluck parties are some of the most fun entertaining ideas around. It is a great way to get all of your guests involved and talking to each other.

Potlucks are great for get-togethers with your friends or family year round, but go over especially well during the winter. So invite your friends inside to get warm and share a meal.